Skip to main content

Full text of "Kacike Journal"

See other formats

1932 - Scars of Memory (Cicatriz de la Memoria) 

A film by Jeffrey Gould and Carlos Henriquez Consalvi 

First Run / Icarus Films - 2002 

53 minutes / color-B&W 

2003 Awards of Merit in Film, Latin American Studies Association 

Honorable Mention, 2003 Festival de Film y Video de El Salvador 

Reviewed by: John de Bry 

Christopher Columbus's Landfall in the Bahamas, in 1492, and his subsequent voyages 
of exploration of the New World, profoundly affected the way Europeans perceived the 
world and energized the Renaissance movement. Most unfortunately, Columbus's 
Discovery also triggered the persecution and genocide of aboriginal populations, starting 
with the Taino. The persecution and murder of Indians continues today.[l] 

Scars of Memory is a compelling story of an unprecedented peasant uprising that erupted 
on January 22, 1932 in El Salvador. At the time, only 30 to 40 families controlled all of 
El Salvador while the indigenous and Ladino population lived in abject poverty, a 
situation the narrator compares with countries like France, Russia and Mexico before 
their revolutions. Poor farmers and peasants had no access to land and worked grueling 
hours for wages that were so insignificant that they could not even adequately support 
their families or provide a basic education for their children. Although ethnic tensions 
existed between Ladinos and Indians, many united in the revolt. Over a period of just 
three days ragtag groups of Ladino and Indian peasants took control of several towns, 
disrupted supply lines to most of the country's towns and villages and even attacked a 
military garrison. Many of the groups were organized and lead by members of Socorro 
Rojo, the Salvadorian Communist party. Reprisal was swift and brutal as the army and 
"citizen militias" organized by the Government indiscriminately attacked farms and 
villages, and retook towns seized by the rebels. [2] 

Between 1998 and 2002, archival research was undertaken in repositories in El Salvador, 
Great Britain and the United States, and over 200 survivors of the uprising were 
interviewed. As the country remained under military dictatorship for six decades and was 
devastated by a 12-year civil war that ended in 1992, many of those eyewitnesses spoke 
for the first time. The memory of those terrible events is still fresh in their mind, as if 
they had taken place just a few years ago. Spoken in their native Spanish and with 
subtitles, witnesses after witnesses recall in horrific details the massacre of thousands of 
innocent men, women and children-estimated at over 10,000 over the period of a few 
weeks-and how priests singled out suspected communists and sympathizers and turned 
them over to the military who summarily executed them. In some villages all males over 
the age of 12 were slaughtered. [3] 

Scars of Memory is an excellent and compelling documentary in which eyewitness 
testimonies and archival film footage and photographs combine to reveal a little-known 
historical event that has profoundly affected and changed the lives of many Salvadorians. 
Still fresh in the memory of many the documentary also draws our attention to the fact 
that the plight of Indians and Ladino of mixed blood is far from over. Persecution and 
sporadic murder of poor Indian peasants continue to this day, not only in El Salvador but 
also throughout Central and South America. [4] 


John de Bry, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Historical Archaeology, a non-profit 
scientific organization based in Melbourne Beach, Florida. He can be reached at 
Archaeologv@HistoricalArchaeologv-org . 

Submitted: 13 April 2004 
Published: 18 May 2004 


Please cite this article as follows, including paragraph numbers if necessary: 

de Bry, John (2004). Review of 1932 - Scars of Memory (Cicatriz de la Memoria), A 
film by Jeffrey Gould and Carlos Henriquez Consalvi. [4 paragraphs] KACIKE: The 
Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology [Date of access: Day, Month, Year]. [On-line 
Journal]. Available at: 

© 2004. John de Bry, KACIKE. All rights reserved.